Northern Ontario Medical School – Update

by Linda Ashby, Director of Communications, Northern Ontario Medical School

The Northern Ontario Medical School is very busy in its preparation for the anticipated September 2005 opening.

Board of Directors
In early December 2003, the Board of Directors of the Medical School convened for the inaugural meeting. The 35 women and men selected are drawn from across Northern Ontario and bring a range of professional, geographic, cultural, and linguistic diversity. These include the following people from Lakehead University: Dr. Fred Gilbert, President; Dr. John Augustine, former Chair of the Lakehead-Laurentian Steering Committee to establish a medical school; Helen Cromarty, former member of the Board of Governors; Elizabeth Dougall, member of Lakehead’s first graduating class; Dr. Neil S. McLeod, member of the Board of Governors; Seppo K. Paivalainen, Chair of the Board of Governors; and Dr. John Whitfield, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and former Vice-President (Academic).

Recruitment of Faculty
Extensive recruitment for faculty is under way. Initially, the School will fill more than 30 full-time equivalent teaching positions over two years. Over the next three to five years, approximately 600 clinical faculty will be recruited. These will be physicians and other health care providers who are primarily providing clinical services to patients, as well as teaching medical students.

Grounded in Northern Ontario, the undergraduate medical program will provide students with a unique mix of learning opportunities in a diverse range of sites including Aboriginal and francophone communities. The major focus for the Medical School over the next few weeks includes a systematic review of all components of the Accreditation Database, to address issues likely to be raised by the Site Visit team. A pilot teaching week of the first-year curriculum will involve senior university students in both Sudbury and Thunder Bay, and a dress rehearsal in February will prepare faculty and staff for the formal Accreditation Site Visit in March. A decision to grant provisional accreditation for the MD program is expected in June 2004.

Construction of the Laurentian Campus Facility
With the design of the Laurentian campus of the Medical School completed, site preparation was started in January 2004 and will be complete in March. Construction will run from May 2004 to July 2005. The Medical School will be located beside the Health Sciences Education Resource Centre.

The Northern Ontario Medical School is Canada's newest medical school, a joint venture of Laurentian University, Sudbury, and Lakehead University, Thunder Bay. With main campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, it will have multiple teaching and research sites distributed across Northern Ontario, in large and small communities. The School will contribute to improving the health of the people of Northern Ontario.